Inspired By His Late Mother, Tom Ufert Tackles Life After MS and SCI

Tom Ufert has found alternative ways to do things since he is in a wheelchair.

Tom Ufert has found alternative ways to do things since he is in a wheelchair.

Editor’s Note: 46 year old Tom Ufert of Haltom City, Texas was on his way toward a political career and had everything in the world going for him. In baseball, if you make three strikes, you’re out. But in life there is no set amount of tragedy you can have in your life and still be successful. Ufert has written the soon to be published book, “Adversity Builds Character – A Second Chance,” in which he describes three major disabilities that he’s had to deal with in the last 20 years. Part 3 of a 5 part series.

Ufert explains, “I was pretty sure I would have to be in a wheelchair after the accident (see Day 1). But since I had bowel and bladder control and was able to move my big toe, I thought I might be able to get some function back. Today with assistance or with a rail, I can stand and have weight bearing capabilities. I can extend my limbs easily, however, retracting my legs is very difficult. I’ve learned to use the spastic energy from my multiple sclerosis to find alternative ways to do things. I have very little bicep control, but when I’m on my side, I’m able to contract my legs and sleep in the fetal position on my side.”

Ufert never got as depressed as many individuals do when they first learn they’ll be in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives, because he was inspired by his late mother. Ufert explains, “My mom was always trying experimental drugs and alternative forms of medicine to defeat her multiple sclerosis. She fought long and hard and did everything she could to try and regain her body. However, finally, she realized there was nothing she could do. In 1985, she was the victim of a mercy killing and suicide when I was 10. One of her friends had been living with her for years and had been taking care of her. I saw her on Mother’s Day before she died. She hardly could speak and was completely dependent on someone else to do everything for her. She had already tried to commit suicide one time, and I stopped her. I’m convinced she asked her friend, Dudley, to put her out of her misery. After he shot my mother, he committed suicide. Dudley and mom had been friends for 45 years, and he was the one who had been taking care of her for the last 6 years of her life So, I had no ill feelings toward him. Not long after my mother’s death, I heard the Corey Hart song, ‘Never Surrender.’ and realized how hard and how long my mother fought multiple sclerosis. I’ve been able to draw strength from the lyrics of that song and my mom’s memory.”

Tom Ufert was inspired by his late mother.

Tom Ufert was inspired by his late mother.

 

Within 14 months of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and having a spinal cord injury, Ufert went back to work at the insurance company. Once again he felt like he had control of his life and his destiny. He began to gradually build up from working part-time to working full-time. His employer was very understanding. Ufert was provided with typing sticks, so he could continue to input data on the computer, and he was provided with a cirque mouse, so that he could continue to work. According to Ufert, “The Texas Rehabilitation Commission provided a fully equipped handicapped van, and the agency that put all the adaptive equipment in the van also had a wide variety of other adaptive equipment, including the typing sticks. Therefore I still could type and continue to work.”

To learn more, visit www.tomufert.com

Next: Tom Ufert Writes A Book: “Adversity Builds Character–A Second Chance”  

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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One Response to Inspired By His Late Mother, Tom Ufert Tackles Life After MS and SCI

  1. Tom Ufert says:

    THANK YOU John! I’m very grateful for your kind and detailed interview to tell my story. Hopefully it will help inspire others to stay strong and overcome their adversities!

    Gratefully yours,
    Tom Ufert

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